December 30, 2015

The U.S. Can Thaw India-Pakistan Relations

Narendra Modi’s surprise Christmas Day visit to Pakistan stunned the world. Photos of the Indian prime minister holding hands in Lahore with his counterpart Nawaz Sharif offered glimmers of hope in the much-troubled relationship between India and Pakistan. As Islamabad and New Delhi prepare to launch a formal, comprehensive dialogue in January, the United States should quietly support their efforts.

Mr. Modi’s stopover marked the first time in 11 years that an Indian prime minister has stepped foot in Pakistan. It also capped a flurry of diplomatic activity over the past several weeks. Mr. Modi and Mr. Sharif held a brief conversation on the margins of the Paris climate talks, and the two countries’ national security advisors met in Bangkok earlier this month. Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj also visited Pakistan in December.

The bilateral dialogue in mid-January will encompass all aspects of Indo-Pakistani ties. In addition to issues that have troubled the relationship since partition such as territorial disputes in Kashmir, the discussions will take up counterterrorism, economic cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, travel and religious tourism.

Read the full op-ed at The Wall Street Journal.